CLOSER ASEAN-KOREA TIES. Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez offers a toast to his counterpart Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea Kim Jin-pyo during their dinner meeting hosted by the latter at Lotte Hotel in Jeju Island on Thursday (June 1, 2023). Romualdez attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea Leaders Forum held at the Jeju International Convention Center where he called on ASEAN and South Korea leaders to work closer together for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. (Photo courtesy of Office of Speaker Romualdez)

MANILA – Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday urged leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea to work closer together for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Romualdez made the call in his message during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN-Korea Leaders’ Forum held at the Jeju International Convention Center (ICC) in Jeju Island, Korea.

“I look forward to substantive discussions on how we as a collective global community can ensure peace, stability, and prosperity in the region; as well as promote sustainable economic growth and enhance regional resilience, with a focus on energy and food security, among others,” said Romualdez, who led the delegation of the House of Representatives to the forum.

Noting that sustainable peace is a key component of economic growth, he said Philippines continues its effort to reform and modernize the country’s security sector to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity and deal with natural calamities and disasters to usher economic development.

“We still have ways to go and we will look to partners like the Republic of Korea and those present today in improving these initiatives, and in working together to make sure that the geopolitical challenges of today do not undermine the possible gains of our future,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Philippines is an advocate of the importance of open communication and effective collaboration between interparliamentary bodies in addressing a range of transnational and global threats.

He likewise identified critical areas of potential collaboration among parliamentarians in the region such as promoting green investment; equitable and sustainable finance; improving the operational efficiency of inter-parliamentary mechanisms; promoting innovation, transfer, application and development of science and technology for regional growth and sustainable development; and building resilient supply chain.

“We hope this forum can serve as a bridge to connect the Philippines and the rest of the Southeast Asian region closer to our Asian and international partners,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez also congratulated his counterpart, Kim Jin-pyo, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, for hosting the 2023 forum.

“On behalf of the Philippine government and people, it is a great honor for me to lead the Philippine delegation to the 18th Jeju Forum. I would like to thank the Republic of Korea for hosting this forum in Jeju Island, home to world heritage sites and a model for green transition. I extend my nation’s warmest congratulations to our host,” he said.

Other prominent personalities who graced the forum include Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Timor Leste President Jose Ramos Horta and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The ASEAN-Korea Leaders Forum is a special program of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity. It brings together parliamentarians and business leaders in the region to forge mutually beneficial, inclusive and trustworthy cooperation in the spirit of solidarity.

Romualdez has been actively promoting the Philippines as an ideal investment haven to create more jobs and business opportunities for Filipinos. (PNA)